Fungal Halo

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Slitted eyes lock with mine. One clawed hand at my throat. Another grips my hair. Two more raking my back, breaking the skin. A smile widens, full of needle-sharp teeth, relishing my helplessness in the moments before it opens to devour me.

“Remember me?” The creature hisses.

The creature’s monstrous features are unfamiliar, but the pendant around its neck is the gift I recently made for my girlfriend.

“So…” I gasp, “your ritual… It worked?”

“Oh yes.” A voice all silk and confidence now. “Your catalyst was the missing piece after all.”

“Gods below, you’ve become more beautiful than ever.” A strained choke is all I can manage. My vision darkens. The claw marks on my back burn.

“Oh my dear, I’m so glad you approve. Of course, you’ll be joining me whether you want to or not.”

My girlfriend extends an impossibly long, forked tongue and drags it across my face, slick saliva leaving searing pain like those claws did.

I nod. My agreement is irrelevant, but I cannot imagine wanting anything more than this.

The burning spreads across my body, searing me down to my bones which shatter and reshape themselves in the hideous agony of rebirth. The screaming in my head scours my humanity from my mind, and then, eventually, in a white-hot flash, it’s over.

I open my eyes. And then I open my other eyes. The world is so much more than it once was, and yet so much less compared to what I am now. My girlfriend’s true form, like mine now, extends so far beyond what I could see with mortal sight. We are more beautiful than I imagined.

I embrace her with all my many arms. There will be time enough to make the world cower before us when we’re done celebrating our new selves with each other.